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Finally home!

When referring back to my first post when arriving in Italy, I am reminded of the panic, hypersensitivity to my surroundings, and overwhelming feeling that flooded my brain. After arriving back in the United States I was immediately surrounded by multiple family members and surprised by friends at the airport. I again felt the similar feeling of being overwhelmed and hypersensitivity about my stuff. I felt I had to do things myself because that is what I had been used to, not trusting anyone to do anything except myself. It was so good to see my friends and family and nothing made me happier but I also felt so overwhelmed with the amount of people greeting me. Later that night I felt the need to get away from everyone and just sat alone and talked with my mom. It was so good to be back in a familiar area but at the same time I went from always busy and traveling, being back home and immediately back into a crazy busy schedule. I think I still need alone time to adjust and just be comfortable. The rest of my summer is also incredibly busy and I can’t wait for school to start and my schedule to die down and start becoming a solid routine again. It is great experiencing everything day by day but I also enjoy structure in my life.

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Home!

I am beyond grateful that I was able to have this experience and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I am also glad I was able to spend it with some other WOU students who are close by when I want to reminisce in the future.

When I first returned home, I was a bit shocked by the heatwave. It took a few days to get used to the valley heat, and I definitely missed the cool London summer. It was a but sad to be home. I wish the term was Longer because there is so much more I would have loved to do and see. Although I would have loved to have more time in London, I was very glad when the traveling ended. My favorite part about being back home is that there’s so much greenery to see. I do not miss being surrounded by concrete.

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Finally Home!!

Finally home and it seems so different from the cool air of London!

The flight was extensively more comfortable then United Airlines. If I had to do it again, which of course I will at some point, I would fly Air Canada again. The screens on the seats were larger, the seats more comfortable, and the food was so very tasty.

Once arriving onto Oregon soil again I noticed many changes without even leaving the airport. I didn’t have to stand off to the side on the escalator because no one was trying to push past me! Many people also walked fairly slow, which was also different then the fast pace of the streets of London. Once stepping outside I noticed a clear weather change, as the hot air was muggy and unpleasant. However the one item that I missed was the CLEAN air!! There was hardly any cigarette smoke and it was lovely. I also miss the food, and how it actually tasted like real food, there are currently certain foods that I will not eat because it is not the same as the food across the pond.

Needless to say I will miss London, and I absolutely intend to go back as soon as possible!!

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Home at last

Well WOU blog, this shall be the last post from me as I’m actually sitting in my own bed on my laptop to tell you this. Since we last talked, I met up with my family and we had a blast. We went in the Tower of London, the London Eye, the Globe Theatre, the zoo, and just had so much fun in England. In Paris we saw the Eiffel Tower, went in Notre Dame, went to Versailles, took a boat tour down the Seine and even went to Disneyland (on my 21st birthday too, best day ever).

As my time in Europe neared an end I was definitely getting a bit homesick. It helped having my family there, but I just wanted to go home and get some decent Dr. Pepper and decent Japanese food and see my cat. When we went back to London after Paris it got better because London definitely had started to feel like home, but I’m glad to be back. Five and a half weeks is a long time to be away from home.

By the time we actually got to customs in the U.S. my body was telling me that it was 3 in the morning so customs was not the most fun experience, luckily it went a lot smoother than customs in London did so it wasn’t too bad. I think that I’ve learned a lot about myself on this trip because I’ve proved that I can be independent and that I can live somewhere that I can’t go home every weekend. And I’m far more comfortable with public transportation than I was before considering I had to take the tube everywhere in London. I do miss London, but I’m glad to be home.

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Anxious to get back home :)

Looking back on my pre departure post and the preconceived notions I had about Italian culture I realize some proved to be true and some proved to be false. The notion I had about Italians using their hands when they talked was extremely true and in fact I would think some Italians were using sign language because their gestures are so similar or the same as the Italian Sign Language we were learning. As for their culture being fast paced, this proved to be incorrect. They actually take their time doing things and compared to American culture they can be considered slow. Italian’s take their time for meals and take an hour or more for lunch where in American culture most people eat on the go during the day because of the fast paced culture. When interacting with Italians I tried using as much Italian as I could but when they knew English most times they would continue using English because it was easier for them. When I think about going home I am excited to go back and see my family and to sleep in my own bed but at the same time I am sad to leave such a wonderful adventure. At this point I am very thankful for my experiences but I’m ready to be home and see my family. This experience has proved to be filled with mixed emotions and I am so happy to have been able to return home with these treasured experiences.

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Week 1 & 2: Abby Goes to Peru!

Hello, hello, hello! Greetings from Peru!

My time here so far has been absolutely incredible! I have met so many wonderful from countless countries. I have explored some parts of Lima and taken a trip to a nearby city. I have tasted food that have opened my eyes to the wonders of Peruvian cuisine and have tasted things that haven’t been my favorite. I have been learning more Spanish, learning how to interpret English accents from all over the world, and have been teaching others English. I have had days where I never want to leave and I have had days where I miss a lot of things about home. I have made new friends and acquaintances and have also met people that I don’t particularly like. I have began to form a bond with my host family and the other students living here with me. This has all been so truly incredible for me to experience.

Throughout my time here I have been noting down thoughts that I have along the way, both about the things I miss and the things I am curious about. I have not made a list of things I have enjoyed because that list would probably be a novel. Here are some of the things I’ve jotted down so far:

I miss breathing clean air. I don’t think there are any environmental regulations here. I wonder how bad the toxins in the air are for our lungs and our skin. I wonder if Peruvians who live in cities have higher chances of lung disease.

Why do so many of the billboards, commercials, and other advertisements I see have white people in them? I was expecting to see people from here in advertisements here. I later found out that the most likely reason is that companies are targeting to the types of people who can afford their product. A majority of the white people here are more wealthy than the rest.

I miss the sun! Lima is covered in clouds most of the time during the winter season (the current season) and parts of the rest of the year as well. We took a two day trip to a city called Lunahuana and were able to soak up some sun in that time. Lunahuana is south and a bit more inland from the coast, so there were no clouds. Apparently there is sun there every day of the year! As we drove back under the blanket of clouds on our way home, we all felt a wave of depression hit us. We didn’t know when the next time we would see sun was. Besides our trip to Lunahuana we have seen 3 partial days of sun in the 16 days that we’ve been here. That’s a big change coming from Oregon’s unusually warm summer.

Also related to the weather, I miss being warm. Not only is it winter and almost always cloudy, Peruvian windows don’t have seals at all. That means we spend a lot of time bundled up in warm clothes and wishing for sun and warmth.

I’ll let you in one one other cultural difference. Peruvian social interactions are very different. I miss hugs. A lot. I come from a family and a friend group that hugs a lot, so coming to Peru where hugs aren’t very common was a bit saddening at times. Peruvians greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. For some reason that seems less affectionate than a hand shake or hug. Anyways, I am so glad to have become closer with those living with me, as some of us have started hugging each other. Thank goodness! Another interesting thing about social interactions is that when you walk around town you’re not really supposed to smile or say hi or make eye contact with others except for the group you are with. Especially the first two. This was also weird with coming from a friendly culture. It’s not that Peruvians are unfriendly, it’s just not necessarily the safest idea to be friendly with someone you don’t know. I have met so many friendly Peruvians so far and enjoy their company very much.

Anyways, that is all I will share for today. I’ll check bak in in a few days if I have time. My best to you all!

Ciao,

Abby

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A panorama view of the river and the beautiful blue skies at Lunahuana.

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The gray Lima skies on one of our beach days.

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Home again

My stay in London is over and I have returned to every day life. It is a change coming home to my family and being “mom” again. I had a great time and I would encourage everyone to consider studying abroad for a term. One of the best parts of my trip was the wonderful ladies from WOU that I got to hang out with. Thank you Joleen, Jenna, Alexis, and Courtney for all the memories.

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End of the stay.

my trip to London has come to an end. I had a great time and learned a lot of new things. I made some great friends and got to know some old friend better. The trip was definitely worth the time and the money.

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These are just a few of the wonderful people I met while in London.

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Fourth Week in London!

Week four brought many adventures and different cultural experiences!

While my time in the United Kingdom has shaped many of my opinions of Europe, my experiences in Paris has shed an entirely new light on my views of the surrounding culture. I was able to travel over to Paris for a period of 3 days; it is extensively different than that of England from its people, to food, and even to the types of living quarters. The people in and around Paris are extensively more friendly then the everyday Londoner, by this I mean that the locals actually respond to a hearty hello, or good morning on my part. In addition they also smile, instead of the opposing no smile or attention that you would receive from the people in London. It seems that the people around Paris are on a slower pace than the individuals in London and take the time to see and respond to things around them including my visiting self. Secondly to the people of Paris was their food that accompanied them. They have the most amazing crepes, and I have never tried a savory crepe or any real crepe, it was the most amazing item I have ever had the pleasure of eating. It would be a lie however to say that all of their food choices were pleasurable to all humans, Paris even with its good food, had an array of odd food items that were different than anything I have experienced or seen in London as well as in the state. For example cooked snail, I personally did not try this dish, however some of the girls that I travelled with had the pleasure of tasting it, as you can imagine it did not go well. The people of Paris seem to be adventurous in the food department and often served items such as snail off their menu. The last cultural item I noted while visiting Paris was the homes in which people lived in. Prior to visiting I had imagined Paris to have tall buildings lined with small outer flower pots lining their windows as I had seen so many times in films. It would please you to know that the films for once were correct in there depiction of what Paris living quarters were like. Immediately after exiting the train I found myself sighting tall buildings with these exact flower pots outside of almost every window, it gave the city an Italian aura and it was absolutely beautiful to witness. This was in high contrast to the sightings of London homes as I had anticipated stone cottages and vast rolling hills, only to find small stone homes (some metal), while most of the city had been modernized.

Although the city was breathtaking in certain areas I was unable to ignore the vile underground transportation system and how vastly different it was In comparison to London’s underground. The halls were filthy, as well as the walk ways and rail lines. It smelled of horrible body odor and many times I saw bodies occupying the empty space to sleep. It was apparent that the culture of Paris does not rely on public transportation as Londoner’s do and therefore the maintenance is slim to none. Overall I would have to say that both Paris and London have unique cultures that are positive in different ways and I am grateful to have been able to experience them both.

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London Week 4

There seem to be a lot of similarities between British culture and American culture in the city. The way people dress, their interests in music, and other aspects of daily culture are much like those I see in people back home. It is interesting to see that there are so many similarities between people’s behaviors and interests here; before visiting a foreign country, I had overestimated the differences in culture and entertainment. That’s not to say the British exercise there interests in the exact same way that we do, but there are definitely recognizable patterns that show up in both places. For example, pop music that I have heard while at shopping is very similar to pop music back home, and sometimes the same artists we listen to in the states appear to be just as popular here, if not more so.
Something I have noticed about family dynamics here is that there don’t seem to be a lot of fathers out with their kids. I have definitely noticed more mothers out and about than fathers. I wonder if this is because a lot of households assume the more “traditional” working-father, stay-at-home mother dynamic. Perhaps I just haven’t been observant. However, it does seem that the majority of the fathers that I have seen out with their families seem to be of the younger generation, or older and more established in life. Something else I made a note of is that mothers and daughters can often be seen out in pairs. They also frequently hold hands as they walk – even the older daughters do not seem ashamed to be seen out with their mothers, and you can tell they respect and care for them deeply. This is an interesting contrast to a lot of girls in the U.S. It seems that many youths today are embarrassed to be with their mothers in this manner, and try to avoid people perceiving them as friends with their moms.I was happy to see these types of connections on display amidst such a bustling culture. This illustrates one major cultural theme I have noticed here: People still make it a point to make sure they maintain and nurture their family and social connections in a variety of ways despite their hectic and fast-paced lifestyles. I admire their commitment to nurturing their relationships, and their ability to relax and have fun without being overly obnoxious.

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